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Three years after shooting, 40 per cent of students, faculty suffer mental-health problems
A new study shows the psychological impacts of the 2006 Dawson College shooting in Montreal still run deep in students and staff affected by the deadly rampage.
Eighteen months after the assault that left one student dead and 16 other people wounded, researchers from the McGill University Health Centre and Montreal’s Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital surveyed 949 members of the Dawson community.
They found that 40 per cent of respondents suffered from mental-health problems.
The researchers also revealed that two per cent were in a state of post-traumatic stress due to the attack, while seven per cent were still experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Richard Boyer, a researcher with the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital’s Fernand-Seguin Research Centre, said Monday that 12 per cent of respondents suffered from severe depression and close to seven per cent had seriously considered suicide.
“There was a heightened risk of major depression or suicidal thoughts if they developed post-traumatic stress during this (18-month) period,” Boyer said in a phone interview from New York, where the preliminary findings will be presented Tuesday at New York University.
“What’s surprising is that the post-traumatic stress problems and the other (psychological problems) persisted for so long after the event.”
On Sept. 13, 2006, gunman Kimveer Gill stormed the college, killing 18-year-old student Anastasia De Sousa and wounding 16 other people. Previous reports had said 20 people were injured.
During the wild, 20-minute shootout that sprayed more than 70 bullets inside the school, students and staff scrambled for cover.
Montreal police shot Gill in the elbow moments before he took his own life.